With four-fifth of the economy shuttered for the third week, on account of COVID-19 control measures, pulling down power demand sharply, power utilities in the state are turning to energy exchanges to buy cheaper power to protect margins, eschewing PPAs that command much higher tariffs.
Ever since the partial lockdowns to prevent the spread of the deadly virus began from March 15, power demand across the country has fallen steeply, and the energy consumption has declined by 21-22 per cent to 2,628 GWh, according to an estimate by brokerage Emkay Global.
In Maharashtra, which is the most industrialised state, commercial activities have come to a nought since March 22, even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day national lockdown ending April 14, significantly reducing power demand.
"Since demand is falling, most thermal power plants of Mahagenco have been backed down and we are taking electricity from hydel projects. Also, we are drawing power only from those private producers where the power purchase agreement (PPA) tariffs are low.